David Villa has revealed he was “90% certain he would sign for Arsenal” in 2013 before eventually joining Atletico de Madrid.
The former Barcelona striker – who has scored 13 goals in 29 appearances for Japanese club Vissel Kobe last season – has recently ended a 19-year career, in which he won the 2010 World Cup and 2008 European Championship with his country.
Hanging up his boots in December, Villa is now reflecting on an illustrious and trophy-laiden career and has opened up on how he nearly joined the Gunners seven years ago.
It was at that point when the Spain international was in his final season at Barcelona, but he remained at the Camp Nou before making the switch to Atleti later that year.
He would spend just one season in Madrid – winning La Liga and helping them to the Champions League final – before spending four years at New York City, and then moving to Japan in 2019.
“We were in a lot of meetings and a lot of calls,” Villa told an interview with BBC Sport.
“I felt 90% in that moment that I [would] go to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
“But in that moment we didn’t arrive to the deal, Atletico Madrid arrived and in three or four days fixed everything.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I’d signed for Arsenal. I’m very happy that I signed for Atletico Madrid, not just for winning the league but for everything. I’m very happy to have made that choice.”
Villa previously played for Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, while netting 59 goals in 98 international appearances for the Spanish national team – the top scorer for the nation.
The striker won the 2010 World Cup with Spain along with the European Championships title in 2008, along with 12 medals at club level.
However, he never played in England and he has now revealed his thought process during his career: “I love the Premier League. In my career I always watched a lot of games in the Premier League.
“I always thought about going there one time, but in the moment that all these offers arrived to me or to my agent, I made another decision. Why? I don’t know.
“Many times I had the opportunity to go there, but I chose another way.”